Starting a membership for your clients might be something you’re already considering, or have got started on. It can be a great way to grow your business, to build a community within your client base and create a recurring income. It also takes work, planning, and commitment to get off the ground.
There are a lot of benefits to beginning a membership, and many of those benefits are also in the clients’ best interests. Let’s take a look at the structure, content and possibility of building a membership for your clients.
Why Build a Membership?
A membership is a great financial planning strategy in your business. Having clients subscribe to your offerings on a recurring basis provides a stable revenue stream for you, and gives your clients great value for money for your services. When you have a recurring income stream, it can take some of the daily hustle out of your wellness business and enable you to really focus on the clients who appreciate and commit to your business.
The wellness industry can have seasonal dips in income; fitness and wellness sometimes takes a back seat when summer comes along and life gets outdoors and busy. Having a membership keeps your clients engaged throughout those slower business months. And a membership also benefits your clients – establishing a regular commitment for them, and value for money. Take a look at our short blog post here on the benefits of offering class packs and memberships for your students.
However, setting up a membership is not for the faint of heart! It takes a level of dedication and commitment to nurturing your clients, in providing a service that is worth their money as well as worth your time and effort. Striking that balance can be tricky.
How to Create a Membership
If you are building your membership on an online platform, a service (such as OfferingTree) that includes a membership feature makes it really easy to do. Here are some things to consider:
- Pricing your membership – take time to work on a price that reflects value for money for your clients. Know that when clients pay for your service they are committing, financially and emotionally, to using your services, so while a high price point might not be attractive to everyone, a low price point can devalue what you offer. There is a balance somewhere in there that will work for your business. As a guideline, the price of membership should be lower than that of your other services, with some add-ons included to encourage sign up and deliver that extra sweet value for money.
- Content – in an online membership, you can repurpose content that you might already have created in recorded sessions, and as you add to that content it creates a library of resources. When you are ready to launch your membership, having some content in your library already for your users to access will attract clients right away, as the value for money element is already in place.
- Commitment – Bear in mind that as a business owner, you are committing to a timeframe of regular content production, update and connection with your clients. This can mean a heavy workload initially, as you balance content production, marketing, nurturing and building community for your clients, so preparation will set you in good stead.
- Profit margin – figure out your baseline for making your membership pay the bills that it needs to. It should cover the cost of any software platforms you need to use, and equipment you need to invest in and (at least eventually) cover the cost of your time. It might take a while to build the membership up, but knowing how much you want to earn from it from the outset sets the benchmark for your business sustainability, and gives you a goal for success.
- Time off – also plan how you can take business breaks if you need to. If your membership is online and features some recorded content, you can have some fluidity around how that pans out. For example, if you need to take a two-week vacation, you could use the drip content feature in your OfferingTree site to release pre-recorded content to your members. If your membership is focused on in-person only, you might need a different approach (such as a co-worker) to keep things running when you are taking time out.
Providing Great Membership Content
When it comes to what the membership will include, this is individual to your business and your clients. If you have been teaching online and recording your sessions, then you already have some solid content to begin to populate your membership. Check out this article on how to choose the best video content to include.
Top of any potential client’s list in joining a membership is to get their best value for money from your services. The price of a membership should be lower than that of your other services, with some add-ons included to encourage sign up and deliver that extra-sweet deal. Think: bonus content, discounts to other services, one-on-one access to you – really anything that you can provide that makes it a better deal, without giving everything away at too low a cost.
Create Community in your Membership
A key part of building a lasting membership is getting to know – and feeling connected to – the other members. When we feel like we are part of a community, we engage more, we feel supported, we enjoy our experience which leads to more discussion (and referrals to friends) and we appreciate the service being offered, and are loyal to it. If you are building an online membership, this article has tips on how to personalize your online classes.
Community is something that is valuable to every business, but in a membership it is a crucial component of success. Building that sense of common ground and friendship between members is a natural process of getting to know your clients, their needs and their struggles, and opening discussions with them. Ask your members questions – are they experiencing something that connects them to another member? If so, introduce them. Does another member provide a service the group could benefit from? Be sure to mention it. Building a community succeeds via back-and-forth between you and your members, not just a one-way system for your business growth.
Back in the days of solely in-person connection, we would build this community with social evenings, fundraisers, coffee mornings, etc. In the digital age, social media channels are a great way to connect. Whether it’s a Facebook group, WhatsApp channel or a Circle community, there are lots of ways to bring the members together.
With some work from you to help them get to know one another, the community starts to build itself.
Marketing Your Membership
Adding a new element to your business is something you can introduce slowly to your client base to garner interest, and build it into your marketing strategy. If you have special events coming up, members might get a great discount on it.
Perhaps there is some content that is only available in the membership. You could also draw attention to your membership via a lead magnet (and we wrote on article on how to do that here ), or by offering a free initial trial/lower join rate or by running a challenge to attract new members.
If you are already running your membership, let us know how it is going in the comments below this post. You can also share a link to your website!
However you decide to run your membership, OfferingTree has the platform, the tech support and the community to help you. Set up a demo of your next website by visiting this link, or email us with your questions at [email protected].
Our partner Shannon Crow of The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast recently did a live Q&A on how she built her successful membership, Pelvic Health Professionals. You can watch that via this link.